John Power, Jr., American, 1729/30–1786


cabinetmaker; shop joiner


Providence, Rhode Island


John Power, Jr., was born in North Providence in 1729 or 1730 to John Power (1701 or 1702–1772)(1) and Lydia (Winsor) Power (1708 or 1709–1793).(2) His maternal grandparents were Samuel Winsor, Jr. (1677–1758)(3) and Mercy (Hardin) Winsor of Providence (1683–1771).(4)

On October 13, 1751, shortly after he would have completed his apprenticeship and established a shop, Power married Elizabeth Westcott (1736–1814) at Providence. She was the daughter of Thomas Westcott and Mary Westcott.(5) By December, 1752, Power was identified as a Providence joiner when he sued mariner Daniel Hudson to recover money from an unpaid loan, and would bring similar actions to court throughout the decade.(6) In September, 1756, he was identified as First Lieutenant in a company of sixty Rhode Island men under Captain Joseph Windsor, raised in support of the Earl of Loudon's planned siege of Crown Point on Lake Champlain.(7) Perhaps this military preoccupation explains why Power was sued by Providence cordwainer Jabez Pearce in December, 1756 for failing to produce two red cedar desks promised in a June 30, 1756, memorandum.(8)

In March, 1757, Power was among the six Providence shop joiners and cabinetmakers to sign a price-fixing agreement, setting the price of a number of commonly produced furniture forms. He signed this agreement alongside Gershom Carpenter, Benjamin Hunt, Grindall Rawson, Philip Potter, and Joseph Sweeting.(9)

Power appears to have taken on an imprudent amount of debt between 1757 and 1769, and was called often to court to settle accounts. In 1758, he sold a lot of land in Providence to his father-in-law for three thousand pounds, presumably land that his wife had brought to the marriage as a dowry.(10) The final official record of John Power, Jr,. in Providence is a deed of July, 1769, recording the sale of Power's dwelling house in Providence to mariner John Larcher.(11) Though the exact date of his move is unknown, it must have been soon after the sale of his Providence house that he moved with his family to North Adams, Massachusetts. Power was part of a large group of settlers from Rhode Island and Bristol County, Massachusetts, who settled the Hoosic River in northwestern Massachusetts.(12)

He died near Adams, Massachusetts, on February 26, 1786.(13)

Benjamin W. Colman and Patricia E. Kane

1. "On Tuesday last Mr. John Power, of North-Providence, was suddenly taken ill, and died soon after, in the 70th Year of his Age." Boston Post Boy, "Newport," March 9, 1772.

2. At Smithfield, in the 84th Year of her Age, Mrs. Lydia Angell, Relict of John Angell," The Providence Gazette and Country Journal, "Died," May 11, 1793.

3. Vital Record of Rhode, Island, 1636-1850,

4. The Providence Gazette; And Country Journal, "Providence, January 4," January 4, 1772.

5. Alphabetical Index of the Births, Marriages and Deaths Recorded in Providence, Rhode Island,

6. John Power, Jr. v. Daniel Hudson, December 1752. Inferior Court of Common Pleas, Providence County, Record Book, vol. 3, p. 300, Judicial Archives, Supreme Court Judicial Records Center, Pawtucket, R.I.

7. Joseph Jencks Smith, Civil and Military List of Rhode Island (Providence, R.I.: Preston and Rounds, Co. 1900), 189.

8. Jabez Pearce v. John Power, December 1756, Inferior Court of Common Pleas, Providence County, Record Book, vol. 4, p. 72, Judicial Archives, Supreme Court Judicial Records Center, Pawtucket, R.I.

9. Joseph K. Ott, The John Brown House Loan Exhibition of Rhode Island Furniture (Providence, R.I.: Rhode Island Historical Society, 1965), 174–175.

10. John Power, Jr., to Thomas Westcott, deed, February 5, 1758, Providence Deeds, vol. 16, p. 48, Providence City Hall, R.I.

11. John Power to John Larcher, deed, July 8, 1769, Providence Deeds, vol. 18, p. 366, Providence City Hall, R.I.

12. W. F. Spear, History of North Adams, Mass.: 1749-1885 (North Adams, Mass.: Hoosac Valley News Printing House, 1885), 5-6.